20 June, 2012

Lou Lombardo Is An Idiot In My Book

presented by
Mystic Metals Body Jewelry

Lou Lombardo Is An Idiot In My Book

Hypocrisy is a serious irritant to me. Also repeating myself. I hate repeating myself. (There's a joke there, see?) I'm also very irritated about writing the same things over and over and over again as if there is a wealth of similar flowing from a spring of idiocy. Here is my response to an article by (yet another) professional writer making gross generalizations about the modification culture. Man, I'm getting tired of writing this shit.

I don't even have the effort to be clever and funny, so I'll just say what I'm thinking. Lou Lombardo is an ignorant bigot focusing on very narrow aspects of the modification culture in order to further his theories that mod is a negative portrayal of attention seeking. Who is Lou Lombardo?

Lou Lombardo writes for a thing called Livingston County News out of Geneseo, New York. He's apparently living the dream at the Livingston County News. Who needs a tiny little rag like New York Times or Washington Post to legitimize your career when you have the Livingston County News. Lou Lombardo (who I desperately hope is not related to Dave Lombardo because Dave Lombardo is a metal god) wrote a "column" for the Helping Hands section of this pillar of journalism called the Livingston County News. Lou Lombardo starts his article called "Body Piercings And Tattoos Are Taboo In My Book" with the formulaic anecdote of seeing (but not interacting with) a modified individual who is minding his own business. Lou Lombardo was buying a newspaper, he says, (don't tell the Livingston County News he's a cheater; Lou, you little scamp!) Lou Lombardo noticed the gentleman's sleeves and piercing mods. A non-story to me, but a fine intro for this writer's cute little article. Then he continues down the way and sees more modded individuals and two tattoo shops. Lou Lombardo tries to make a poignant joke here: "One tried to lure customers in with this on their front window: “the pain is temporary…the art work forever.” It seems to me that it should be the opposite." His original joke notwithstanding, he continues with talking about a Red Wings game to which he took his daughter (whom I hope is less ignorant than he is) and there he witnessed "countless numbers of people with similar mutilations and manifestations on their bodies." Go Flyers, by the way. I'll grant him the manifestations word. I don't see that one in these uneducated articles very often, but c'mon Lou Lombardo; the mutilation word is getting old. You're a writer; get a dictionary and make sure you're using words properly.

Lou Lombardo grants the artists the right to make a living, but then in an odd contradiction condemns those with tattoo and piercing mods, calling the mods unnecessary, which he then defines as non-surgical. Seems a bit odd that one would give a pass to the service provider but not those who partake in the service giving the provider a purpose for providing. Doesn't make much sense to me, but OK. We'll continue.

What follows is asinine and wonderfully misguided and unscientific. In his estimation, Lou Lombardo believes that "over 75 percent [of those with modifications] are obese." So to clarify for those who have stuttered on this wild estimation, three in four people with tattoo modifications are fat. Now, of the 9654 people living in the town of Geneseo, New York, I suspect that the 61.4 people per square mile and the 51.3% of 18-24 year olds would contain some fat people. Everywhere does, I suppose. Fat people make the world go 'round, right? Also, I am unsure of how many total individuals Lou Lombardo's '75% study' comprised. If it were four, three were fat. If it were 100, 75 were fat. If it were 964, then 723 were fat. We get the point. I hardly believe that Lou Lombardo, with his preconceived notions of the modified community, took the time to actually do a study that would threaten his held beliefs. Do I have to extrapolate on the idea that we're not a culture of fat people? I really don't want to write for you anything that a chimpanzee's eyes can tell it plainly; we're not three-quarters comprised of obese people. (And so what? Fat people are beautiful too.)

Lou Lombardo continues, making a veiled reference at genital piercings (it's OK; we're adults and can say penis and vagina), and then provides some historical facts about modification, ostensively proving that he isn't as ignorant as his opinions lead the reader to believe. Aztecs, Africans, Oetzi (whom he doesn't name directly), Old Testament, all the history that we in the educated culture of modification know and understand. Whom he omits curiously are the wildly recognized participants of modification, the American Indians; similar to the Iroquois and Seneca whom those who settled Geneseo eradicated with the scorched earth technique, forcing them to endure and die in the coldest winter of pre-revolution years of settlement. But that's just picking fly shit out of pepper.

To fuel his argument, which I'm still a little unclear of other than 'I don't like dem mods dem kids is doin'' he references a book by a professor who concludes (as Lou Lombardo presents it) that mods happen as self identifiers. And of course, as if it were a script that all of these asshole writers who don't know dick about our culture seem to follow, Lou Lombardo has to make a reference to concentration camp tattoos. Yawn.

Lou Lombardo begins his conclusion by saying he doesn't think a lot of the art he's seen is good art, he can't tell what it is or what it means, and then into the (also scripted) diatribe about dirty needles and getting Aids. Yawn number two. That argument is getting really fucking old too, people. Write something new. Going to a dirty shop for a dirty tattoo and walking out with a disease is something that can happen, yes. That's why we don't go to dirty shops. You can also go to a shitty doctor and get a disease. You can also get a disease from a Taco Bell or a diner that prepares its food poorly. If you go to a shitty place for a service and the service is shitty, no one should be surprised. Stop portraying our culture as one who carelessly mods without regard for the health of its clients. It's terribly insulting to the honor and class of the artists as well as the education of those who get modified. We're not stupid. It's like adding more warnings to cigarette packs. We know the risks. We're not fucking morons so stop assuming we are. And it is especially irritating coming from those who have never stepped one, unmodified, judgmental foot into a tattoo shop. It's like my saying that Geneseo, New York is filled with a bunch of hick, upstate isolationists who have no idea how life in major metropolitan areas works. I've never been there, so how could my hypothetical opinion have any validity?

Lou Lombardo concludes with this: "So in the course of human events as well as tattooing and body piercing, when it becomes necessary to alter or abolish some body features don’t become a revolutionist. Accept yourself for what you are and seek more positive ways to improve your self image." How is it that unmodified people who have not a grasp of what the modified community does make an assessment that makes mod and self beauty mutually exclusive? We are not revolutionists, sir, as your brief and selective history of modification proves. We are those who use art to exemplify our beauty and draw attention to it in other ways. How beautiful is made a thing such as an earlobe once attention is drawn to it by jewelry? How wonderful a navel, how extraordinary the triceps, a calf, a throat, an index finger becomes when added to it the beautiful work of a true modern artist? What Lou Lombardo shows in his little rant for the little local newspaper for which he writes is an awkward bigotry toward a silent and unprotected culture of individuals. Everyone celebrates beauty differently, Louie, and you don't have to like it, but what you do have to do is recognize that our perceptions of beauty differ from yours and accept that your bigoted and misinformed and undereducated points of view are far from absolute. If you, Lou Lombardo, represent the timber of perception toward strangers in which Geneseo, New York participates, then I expect to never meet you because I will avoid your town and assume of your little culture as you are assuming of mine that all 9654 of you are of similar mind. By the way, Lou-Lou, I weigh 110 pounds; I'm hardly obese. Read his rant, kids, and tell him what you think. Stay beautiful, kids.


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